November 09, 2004


What is up with these CNN newscasters? Besides the obvious (they Wow! My sister Lypstinka as the wicked step-mother in the costume spectacle CINDERELLA at Lincoln Center? (Talk about type-casting!) Miss Thang joins an all-star cast including Eartha Kitt, Dick Van Patten, Renee Taylor and Lea Delaria. I caught up with her after a gruelling 7-hour dress rehearsal --Can anyone say bearded lady?--to dish a little backstage dirt with The Personification of Pizazz herself!

B: So, Lincoln Center! I know you've been a darling of the downtown theater scene for decades but you don't normally perform uptown, unless you include "performing" fellatio in the Rambles, where you normally get a standing gyration form everyone around?

L: Oh, YOU were there?

B: Yeah, what a hot mouth! You just didn't recognize me in my islamic hobo get-up! Anyhoo, what's it like to priss out onto that enormous stage, girl?

L: Well, it's fantastic to look up and see 4/5 balconies, especially after some of the dumps I've played!

B: And this is a huge production, right?

L: Yes, with around 100 dancing/singing chorus members and a 40-piece orchestra.

B: (The last time I worked with 40 "pieces" was the closing party at Jay's!) Now I know know that you've worked with tons of mega-celebs from Lily Tomlin to Bette Midler to Isabella Rossellini to well, me, but with such a stellar cast, is there anyone you find yourself staring at during rehearsals?

L: Yes, the stagehands! No, It would have to be Eartha, who Orson Welles once called "the most fascinating woman on earth." She's still one of them.

B: What's her "down-to Eartha" day look?

L: All black, very chic, with those enormous, thick-framed Carol Channing glasses and a turban or head-scarf.

B: No one can work a turban like that imperious goddess!

L: And often with leg weights. She is very spry and works constantly, and we share a hatred of processed foods. And sometimes she'll turn on the "Eartha growl" for dramatic effect off-stage. We all had to introduce ourselves when we began rehearsing and when Eartha purred "I'm Eartha Kitt and I'm playing the Fairy Godmother-r-r-r-r", the cast howled!

B: The ugly step-sisters are played by SNL's Ana Gasteyer an dyke diva Lea Delaria.

L: Yes, and today Lea cracked us up when she fell down the stairs. The director yelled "Keep the bit, Lea!" And Lea said "It's not a bit! It's a bull-dyke in high heels!"

B: How many gowns do you get to wear?

L: Three Marie Antoinette-style panniers, including a stunning black and gold closing number! Today was the first dress rehearsal and I think Renee Taylor (Fran Drescher's mom from on THE NANNY) is used to having the biggest wig in the cast. So she couldn't get over seeing mine--it's bigger!--for the first time.

B: Tell me about the show. I mean, of course, I am familiar with the work of Rodgers and Hammersmith--

L: Bunny, it's Richards and Hammerstein.

B: That's what I meant--but for those who aren't...

L: It began as a tv show in 1957 with Julie Andrews as Cinderella, but more pepolpe are familiar with the 1965 Leslie Anne Warren version. Also, Brandy and Whitney Houston redid it a few years ago. This is the first production in which a man has been cast in a female role.

B: Singing and acting--it's a great break for you!

L: Yes, I've always wanted to be a part of the professional NY theater communtity and they've finally invited me to the ball--though they rejected my attempts to rename it LYPSINKERELLA. Since Lypsinka primarily lip-synchs, that character can be a bit constricting. And when Lypsinka became popular, I neglected a lot of my acting ambititions.

B: What other classic Broadway roles might you be eyeing?

L: The Brooke Shields role in WONDERFUL TOWN, LEGENDS, HELLO, DOLLY or MAME.

B: (theatrical aside) They'd have to change the name to MAIM after you butchered it! What else is coming up for John "Lypsinka" Epperson?

L: Well, the same day CINDERELLA opens, I'm opening in the film KINSEY where I play a gay man in a gay bar--

B: Where else?

L--who gets to call sexy, fucking Liam Neeson, "Mary!"

B: (aside) I'm told that anyone who sees Liam's horse-cock is more likely to excalim "Jesus!" than "Mary!"

L: I also have a fashion spread in the November Paris Vogue--

B: I didn't know mature clowns were in style again. Could someone please notify Flotilla?

L:--and I'm updating my website to include some Lypsinka sound clips and merchandise

B: Great! Well, wrapping up--

L: I'm also doing station identification spots on Channel 13.

B: OK, I think we got it--

L: I'm having John Epperson's cabaret SHOW TRASH produced as a theater piece for the first time in the coming months--

B: Fine--

L: And in the New Museums East Village 80's show, there is video of a 1987 La Mama performance, for hardcore fans.

B: Well, I'll let both of them know. In the meantime, EVERYONE grab a little culcha an check out Lypsinka and her fab co-stars in CINDERELLA from NOVEMBER 12-21 at Lincoln Center's New York State Theater!


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